The Clippers would fall into a hole and climb out. They’d fall back into the very same hole and climb right back out.
But at no time did the Clippers ever dig all the way out of the hole they were put in by Boston, and that eventually led to a 107-102 loss to the Celtics on Sunday afternoon at TD Garden.
The Clippers have now lost six of their last eight games.
Blake Griffin (23 points, eight rebounds), Jamal Crawford (23 points) and Raymond Felton (16 points) did all they could to help the Clippers in their time of need.
But with seven Celtics scoring in double figures and Boston tossing up an NBA high for this season of 52 three-pointers, the Clippers couldn’t catch up whenever they mounted a charge.
“We have to keep it close when you’re fighting like that,” Griffin said. “In the end, there’s too big of a hole and you can’t dig yourself out.”
The Clippers opened the game going down by 15 points in the first before ending the quarter down by 10.
They went back down by 12 in the second before finishing the first half down by nine.
It was more of the same in the third, the Clippers going down by 18 points before pulling to within 14 at the end of the quarter.
The Clippers made one last push in the fourth after they trailed by 14 points midway through the quarter.
They got to within four points with 42.7 seconds left on two Marreese Speights free throws.
Clippers sliding in West standings
There was a time when the Clippers were 14-2 and had the best record in the NBA.
Now they are sliding, having slipped to the fifth seed on the Western Conference, one game behind the Utah Jazz.
With Chris Paul (left thumb surgery) still out, the Clippers are just trying to hold on to the best spot they can get.
“The fourth seed I would love it, but I’m not going to worry about,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. “I really am not. I’m far more concerned about us being healthy. We can go to the seventh seed. I really don’t care. We are a great road team. We’ve been a great road team. I don’t think our guys care. I think obviously early on they did. We got out to a 14-2 start, but then once the injuries started, I think this is as really confident group.”
J.J. Redick suffered a black left eye after he was hit by Marcus Smart’s elbow on a three-point attempt.
CLIPPERS AT TORONTO
When: 4:30 p.m. PST.
Where: Air Canada Centre.
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 570, 1330.
Records: Clippers 31-20; Raptors 31-21.
Records vs. Raptors: 1-0.
Update: The Clippers and Raptors both will be playing in back-to-back games. The Raptors beat Brooklyn on Sunday to win for just the third time in 11 games. Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan has missed seven of the last eight games with a right ankle injury. He’s listed as questionable against the Clippers.